"Forrest Gump" and "Pulp Fiction," films that viewed America respectively through contrasting prisms of a simple man's remarkable life and hit men cruising the drug underworld, led the 52nd annual Golden Globe Awards nominations Thursday in Beverly Hills.
Director Robert Zemeckis' "Forrest Gump," which rode a wave of baby boomer nostalgia to become the fourth-highest-grossing picture of all time with nearly $300 million in domestic box-office receipts, grabbed seven Golden Globe nominations--including best motion picture drama--the most for any film.
Six nominations, including one for best film drama, went to director Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction," which has been the darling of critics since it won the Palme d'Or at last spring's Cannes Film Festival.
The two films now likely will be considered front-runners in the race for the Academy Awards, which will be handed out on March 27. (Nominations will be announced Feb. 14.) Once scoffed at, the Golden Globes, which are bestowed on feature films and television programs, in recent years are taken more seriously by the Hollywood studios since they are often seen as a precursor to Oscar nominations.
Other Golden Globe nominations in the best drama category went to "Quiz Show," director Robert Redford's film about the '50s TV quiz show scandals, which recently won the New York Film Critics Circle Award; "Nell," director Michael Apted's film about a young woman found in a remote North Carolina cabin who speaks her own language, and director Ed Zwick's "Legends of the Fall," a movie about a Montana rancher whose family is torn apart over the love of a woman. Both "Nell" and "Legends" are dark horse candidates.
If there was one big surprise omission in this year's balloting for best drama it was the critically acclaimed remake "Little Women," which was totally ignored by the 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which vote on the Golden Globes.
In contrast to the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes also honor musicals and comedies. This year's best picture nominees in those categories were "The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert," "Ed Wood," "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "The Lion King" and "Ready to Wear (Pret-a-Porter)."
The mainstream Disney and its avant-garde subsidiary Miramax Films dominated the Globes, garnering a dozen nominations each.
There were two surprises in the best director category: Oliver Stone for his violent black comedy "Natural Born Killers," the controversial film's only nomination, and Ed Zwick, for the sweeping family saga "Legends of the Fall." Zemeckis, Redford and Tarantino round out the nominees. Apted was shut out of the race, though his film was nominated.
Best actor drama nominations went to last year's Oscar winner Tom Hanks for his title role in "Forrest Gump," John Travolta in "Pulp Fiction," Morgan Freeman in "The Shawshank Redemption" and Paul Newman in "Nobody's Fool." But few expected to see a nomination for Brad Pitt, who plays a distraught son in "Legends of the Fall."
Three-time Golden Globe winner Meryl Streep was nominated for her role in "The River Wild." Joining her in the best actress drama category were likely Oscar favorites Jodie Foster in "Nell" and Jessica Lange in "Blue Sky," as well as Jennifer Jason Leigh in "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle," and Miranda Richardson in "Tom & Viv."
Jim Carrey, who exploded on the big screen with the unexpected hit "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and went on to star in two other hit comedies, was nominated for best actor in a comedy for "The Mask." Other nominees are Johnny Depp ("Ed Wood"), Hugh Grant ("Four Weddings and a Funeral") and Terence Stamp ("The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert"). A big surprise vote went to Arnold Schwarzenegger ("Junior").
In the best actress in a comedy arena, nominees are Jamie Lee Curtis ("True Lies"), Geena Davis ("Speechless"), Andie MacDowell ("Four Weddings and a Funeral"), Shirley MacLaine ("Guarding Tess") and Emma Thompson ("Junior").
Samuel L. Jackson, who was overlooked as a best actor (drama) nominee as a Bible-quoting hit man in "Pulp Fiction," though his role was largely equal to Travolta's, received a best supporting nod for the movie. He also received a best actor nomination for the HBO prison movie "Against the Wall."
Miranda Richardson was the only other nominee to receive nominations in both film and TV, with a best actress drama bid for "Tom & Viv" and best supporting actress nod for HBO's Nazi thriller "Fatherland."
The best supporting nominees for movies also include Martin Landau for his role as Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood" and Dianne Wiest for "Bullets Over Broadway." Both have won several critics' awards for those performances.
Among the TV programs honored with Golden Globe nominations, CBS' quirky series "Picket Fences" led with five nominations, including best television series (drama). NBC's popular sitcoms "Frasier" and "Seinfeld," and "The Burning Season," HBO's drama about the Brazilian activist Chico Mendes, followed with four nominations each.
Overall, CBS led the pack with 15 nominations, followed by NBC with 14, ABC with 12 and HBO with 11.
Besides "Picket Fences," which has received the Emmy for best dramatic series the past two years, the best television series (drama) nominees are "NYPD Blue," the cult fave "The X-Files" and the medical dramas "Chicago Hope" and "ER." The latter is the highest-rated new show of the season.
In addition to "Frasier," which also won the Emmy this year, and "Seinfeld," the nominees for best television series (musical or comedy) are "Grace Under Fire," "Home Improvement" and "Mad About You." The nominees for miniseries or movie made-for-TV are "The Burning Season" (HBO), "Fatherland" (HBO), "The Return of the Native" (CBS), "Roswell" (Showtime) and "White Mile" (HBO).
The Globe awards will be presented in Beverly Hills on Jan. 21 in a live telecast on TBS.
Times staff writer Elaine Dutka contributed to this story.